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Directed by Michael Haneke

France, 2012

Cornerhouse, 18 November 2012


A woman suffers a stroke; her husband cares for her in their home.

She gets him to promise that he’ll never place her in hospital.  He keeps his word, even though they become locked together in an unbearable situation.  But bear it they must, terrible and dreadful though it be.

Her decline is slow and agonising, and he is in agony watching her die.  At certain moments she wants to die, but he won’t let her.  It is a confused, bewildering game.  Love.

Haneke’s film is measured and ultimately moving; there are no unseemly flourishes intended simply to shock.  Such as you find, for example, in Funny Games.  This is a profound, bracingly serious, salutary film where every act and emotion has its due weight.

It recalled to my mind ‘Last Night’, James Salter’s great short story on the same theme, which I am now minded to reread.

The finest film of the year by far, unforgettable.